By Bassey Udo
The National Assembly is to consider a legal framework for the National Social Investment Programme, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
The President who disclosed this at the formal launch of the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report in Abuja said the Executive Council of the Federation recently approved the Executive Bill sent to the National Assembly.
The framework is expected to guide the Federal Government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within 10 years, in line with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Africa Agenda 2063.
At the launch of the MPI report, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed that more than half of the country’s population, or 133 million Nigerians were multidimensionally poor.
The NBS the National MPI revealed that the level of poverty confronting Nigerians went beyond deprivation and intensity, with 63 percent of Nigerians considered poor due to a lack of access to health, education, and living standards, alongside unemployment and social shocks.
The report of the study organized by the NBS highlighted beyond monetary and income-based poverty measurements to the stark realities of poverty in each State of the federation and across the 109 Senatorial districts.
The incidence of monetary poverty, the report revealed, was lower than the multidimensional poverty across most States where 40.1 percent of Nigerians fell within the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line, while 63 percent were within the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report.
Also, the report showed that multidimensional poverty was higher in rural areas, where 72 percent of Nigerians were poor, compared to 42 percent in urban areas.
Besides, findings in the report aligned with global indices people most vulnerable to poverty were often women and children.
Although children are a strategic population, with nearly half of all Nigerians being children under the age of 18, the National MPI report showed that two-thirds (about 67.5 percent) of children aged 0–17 were poor, while half (51 percent) of all poor people were children.
To ensure the government deployed the harvested data in national development, the President gave some reasons the country’s multidimensional poverty index would help inspire action toward achieving its plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next decade.
Meanwhile, to make data and information on poverty readily available to Nigerians, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has unveiled a national poverty dashboard situation room (PDSR).
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, who unveiled the dashboard on Friday, said the 32-seatter soundproof room with a 12 by 5 feet TV screen located at the NBS headquarter id Abuja would be displaying information on poverty.
Agba said the poverty data hub would not only provide a veritable tool for an adequate understanding of the poverty situation in the country, but would also host information on the welfare of the people.
The minister said the data hub would be accessible to the public interested in acquiring knowledge and understanding on concepts and methods on how various classes of poverty are measured and how the application of the data in practice.
“We believe there must be transparency and accountability. The government has a responsibility to involve the people in whatever it is doing, so as to narrow the trust gap,” the Minister said
Agba urged the state governors to focus their attention on the rural areas, where the report revealed a prevalence of poverty, as a way to end poverty in the country.
The Statistician-General of the Federation, Semiu Adeniran, said the PDSR was to serve as a one-stop shop for accessing all kinds of poverty-related data on Nigeria.
The lab, Adeniran said, would have all types of tests on poverty to provide useful results at both the national and state levels.
“The lab will diagnose and dissect whatever the problem is as it concerns poverty. “Commissioning of the poverty dashboard situation room is another achievement NBS should be proud of,” he said.
The director of ICT at NBS, Biyi Fafunmi, who led guests on a tour of the lab, said the PDSR was equipped with adequate infrastructure and facilities to discharge its mandate.
Fafunmi said the idea of the PDSR to support the vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years by producing and disseminating poverty data in an unconventional way.
“The lab also enjoys uninterrupted power supply and has access to the internet linked to the NBS local network,” he said.
Other features of the lab, he said, include a dedicated and interactive poverty dashboard and website to be managed by in-house experts who would provide explanations on the poverty indicators.